severedsolo

[1.4.2] Contract Pack: Kerbal Academy 1.1.8 (18/04/2018)

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Attention: This thread is now outdated. Kerbal Academy is now maintained by @Mark Kerbin - new thread here:

Are you tired of your Kerbals not being able to reach the highest levels without planting a flag on Duna? Ever wondered how planting a flag on Minmus shows your engineers how to fix wheels? Enrol your Kerbonauts in the Kerbal Academy today!

What does this do?

Simply put, it's a series of contracts that will allow your Kerbonauts to advance their skillset, by actually doing the things that relate to their skill set.

So, to give you an example, the Pilot training scheme will make your Pilots learn to change orbital inclination, how to do flyby's of various bodies. Scientists will have to go out and, you know, actually collect science. Only after they have demonstrated their skills in their field will experience be awarded.

One thing to note: This is not a contract pack in the conventional sense of "do this and get paid". This will cost you funds. To be precise, you will have to pay (approximately) 100k (on normal - scales with difficulty level) for each level advanced using this pack. Why you ask? Well, most of these contracts can be completed without leaving the Kerbin system, and I felt there needed to be a trade-off. Besides, it's not like Funds are a problem in Career anyway.
 

Available Missions:

Spoiler

 

There are three programs available at Kerbin Academy:

  • Boot Camp - If the pack finds that you are lacking in a certain role, you will be offered the chance to put a Kerbal through Boot Camp. This involves proving basic skills in that role. On completion of the course you will be re-imbursed half of your hiring cost, plus your new applicant will be advanced to level 1.
     
  • The Basic Program - Where a kerbal is severely lagging behind their colleagues in terms of experience, or one Kerbal is much further advanced than the others, the more experienced kerbal can "mentor" one of their less experienced peers. Obviously only kerbals of the same skillset can be mentored. So a pilot couldn't mentor a scientist (because that would be silly). On completion of the course, the less experienced kerbal will be given a hefty experience boost, which can (but is not guaranteed to) bring them to within 1 level of their mentor.
     
  • The Advanced Program - If a Kerbal is near the top of their field they will be put forward for the advanced program. This involves demonstrating their skills in the field. On completion of the course, the Kerbal will be advanced one level.

 

Known Issues/Workarounds

Spoiler
  • The Training Vehicle" on the Engineers Boot Camp may spawn upside down. This is an issue that resolves itself when you board the vessel. I've reported this to nightingale on the Contract Configurator thread, but at the moment it's a mild inconvenience not game breaking
     
  • Where a Kerbal is severely underdeveloped in relation to their peers, they may need to sit the Basic Program twice to bring them up to speed.

Other Stuff

This contract pack will disable the stock rescue missions by default, as they are a horribly cheaty way to get new kerbals perfectly valid player choice, if you like that sort of thing, and this pack already provides a way to recruit new kerbals cheaply.

This mod includes version checking using MiniAVC. If you opt-in, it will use the internet to check whether there is a new version available. Data is only read from the internet and no personal information is sent. For a more comprehensive version checking experience, please download the KSP-AVC Plugin.

In order for Engineers to advance through the program, vehicles must be marked properly. So a lander (with legs) should be marked as a lander (by clicking rename vessel in the flight scene), stuff with wheels should be a rover, and stations and bases should be marked as such. If you don't do this, you won't see any Engineering contracts offered.

Licensing

Versions of Kerbal Academy prior to 1.1.7 licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0

Kerbal Academy 1.1.7 licensed under MIT

Download

Highly recommended you grab through CKAN (where available)

However, if you insist on installing manually you will need:

Acknowlegments

@nightingale as ever for his tireless work on Contract Configurator (you rock!)

My wife for creating the Kerbal Academy flag for me.

 

Edited by severedsolo

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Uooo downloading and trying it nowww
nice idea you had there mate

thanks

 

 

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Looks promising! Thanks! Can it be safely used with an ongoing save?

I currently have two rescue missions accepted. If I install this pack what will happen to them?

The screenshots are nice but I couldn't quite get what are the missions... Can you elaborate, please?

Edited by jlcarneiro

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30 minutes ago, jlcarneiro said:

I currently have two rescue missions accepted. If I install this pack what will happen to them?

Should be fine - CC has a logic check built into it that won't touch active contracts, but you won't see any further rescues after that (I hope) - I'd back your save up to be safe, because what should happen, doesn't always happen.

30 minutes ago, jlcarneiro said:

The screenshots are nice but I couldn't quite get what are the missions... Can you elaborate, please?

Sure:

Boot Camp - Pilots this involves just basically proving they can fly - your pilot will be asked to fly to the island airfield and land safely. - Scientists: Gather a randomly generated experiment from somewhere in KSC (it will try and pick one you haven't already done, but if all the KSC science has been exhausted, it will pick one at random) Engineers: A training drill vehicle will be spawned at KSC. Your new engineer will have to get in it and run "driling simulations" (basically just wait a while, CC doesn't expose any of the repair/drilling stuff so it's just a simulation)

Basic Program - Pilots: Fly a randomly generated course (series of waypoints) over KSC and land safely.  Scientists: Gather a randomly generated low level science experiment from Kerbin (or, if the Kerbin science is exhausted, Mun or Minmus). Engineers: Perform a "simulation" (see above) of repairing something (level dependant, so if you would go to Lv2 it will be landing legs, Lv3, wheels etc).

Advanced Program - Pilots: Get to an equatorial orbit, and then (depending on level) either: move to a 45 degree inclined orbit, perform a flyby of a moon, orbit a moon, or orbit another celestial body (one you've already been to, picked at random). Scientists: Gather a randomly generated experiment from a biome that holds more science than you currently have Lv2 is Kerbin Biomes, Lv3 is world you've orbited, Lv4 is any world you've landed on, level 5 is any world you have landed on which isn't the homeworld (so not Kerbin). Engineers: Lv2+3: Simulate repairing landing legs/wheels on a vehicle you've deployed (if it's marked as a lander or a rover respectively, something I forgot to mention in the OP) - Lv4 - perform a 30 day tour on a space station (again, vehicles should be marked as Stations) - Lv5 - perform a 30 day tour on a base (again, marked as base)

No contracts will be offered for Lv0 Kerbals (unless they come in through the boot camp) because you can get Lv1 by just orbiting, and frankly, what kind of astronaut has never been to space?

Edited by severedsolo

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Thank you!

Great ideas! I'm almost salivating here! (not at my computer ATM)... :(

What did you mean by "this pack already provides a way to recruit new kerbals cheaply"?

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23 minutes ago, jlcarneiro said:

What did you mean by "this pack already provides a way to recruit new kerbals cheaply"?

The Boot Camp contract polls the game for your next Kerbal Hire Cost, and then gives you half of that back as a reward when you complete it. (So you pay the hire cost, complete boot camp, and then get half back)

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Sounds really nice.

 

I think this mod will help a lot with immersion. DLing now. Thanks!

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Brilliant idea. I've long hoped for a better way to level Kerbals. As far as I know, this is the only alternative leveling method to stock! There's probably something else out there somewhere, but this is really awesome. Thanks a lot.

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7 hours ago, RickKermen said:

Hi, great idea! :)

Is it RSS compatible? 

Should be. I've taken great lengths to not hardcode the bodies but let the game provide them. On the off chance you come across one that I missed, let me know and I'll re-write it for RSS compatibility.

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hmmm, didn't see that this disabled the rescue missions. Honestly I hated those anyway (except with HyperEdit, they're fun:D).

A few things:

  • reading through the posts you made above, looks like the Engineer could use some additional content (if I'm reading the nature of the simulation correctly)? Maybe something ISRU related? I think fixing tires is cool and all, but...big drills are cooler:cool:. Although, that might be too much of a setup for a training mission.
  • What about a "training bonus" or some sort of synergy with the Strategia Pilot/Scientist/Engineer Focus Strategies? Maybe work with Nightingale to have some sort of cross recognition (or whatever), where if you have the Pilot Focus Selected in Strategia, they train 5/10/15% faster, (level dependent in Strategia). Or whatever. Strategia already does that with a few contract packs (pilots with Tourism Plus for example).
  • More importantly: I don't see this contract pack linked in your signature; how do I know it's legit?:sticktongue:

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28 minutes ago, Deimos Rast said:

hmmm, didn't see that this disabled the rescue missions. Honestly I hated those anyway (except with HyperEdit, they're fun:D)

Yeah, I have spent nearly a year trying to think of a way to fix rescue missions, and have given up on it. They are just fundamentally flawed I think, so I turned them off.

You can switch them back on through the CC menu if you like, I mainly switched them off because "free kerbals/experience" goes against the spirit of the pack.

 

27 minutes ago, Deimos Rast said:

reading through the posts you made above, looks like the Engineer could use some additional content (if I'm reading the nature of the simulation correctly)? Maybe something ISRU related? I think fixing tires is cool and all, but...big drills are cooler:cool:. Although, that might be too much of a setup for a training mission.

Agreed, engineers are a bit light at the moment.

The problem is that ISRU is really late in the tech tree, and in the meantime Pilots and Scientist are going to be whizzing off ahead. So I either spawn a vessel with a drill on it (which I don't like doing, because 1) it's buggy as hell, and 2) I prefer contract packs to be randomised, and I can't spawn a vessel at a random location (or if I can, bad idea because of afore-mentioned bugginess)), or I just let them wait until later in the game.

There is an argument to be made that Engineers don't become useful until later anyway, when you have ISRU. Maybe I'll let the player build their own ISRU and set the Engineers to work on it, like I do with the landers/rovers. I don't know, I'll think about it.

27 minutes ago, Deimos Rast said:

What about a "training bonus" or some sort of synergy with the Strategia Pilot/Scientist/Engineer Focus Strategies? Maybe work with Nightingale to have some sort of cross recognition (or whatever), where if you have the Pilot Focus Selected in Strategia, they train 5/10/15% faster, (level dependent in Strategia). Or whatever. Strategia already does that with a few contract packs (pilots with Tourism Plus for example).

To be honest, I think the experience rewards are too generous as it is... a Level 5 mentor putting a Level 0 trainee through the basic program, will advance the trainee to Level 3 (for a fairly easy mission). Do it again, and he's level 4. The Advanced program is a little slower (one level per course), but with only 5 levels, it still doesn't take long to finish the course.

Plus, at the moment those strategies affect rewards. As I'm dealing in negative funds, you would get charged more for each course.

27 minutes ago, Deimos Rast said:

More importantly: I don't see this contract pack linked in your signature; how do I know it's legit?:sticktongue:

I don't know what you are talking about. It's right there. *looks shifty* totally didn't just add it.

Edited by severedsolo

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I'm just imaging sitting down at the first day at Kerbal Academy, and looking at my class Schedule:

  • 9am - How To Fly Your Own Rocket with Jeb and Val.
  • 11am - Unlocking the Power of the Atom with Bob.
  • 2pm - How to Change a Flat with Bill.
  • 5pm - Naptime.

I'll stop giving you grief now:sticktongue:; I'm sure it's fine (I should preface this by saying I haven't tried it yet in game, but will next time KSP loads). Part of the issue is, in my opinion, that the class system in the stock game is a bit underwhelming and you're stuck with making do with a limited situation.

As a half-way measure, you could do a "study buddy" program as a way to keep engineers from falling too far behind (until you come up with something else, or keep it if you like the idea), where if you bring a second kerbal on say a science mission (an engineer as the rover pilot for example), he gets a small portion of the experience that the scientist does for completing the mission. Might not make the most sense from a strictly academic perspective, but from a gameplay perspective, sure. Add in some flavor text about the "advantages of cross training in diverse disciplines" and call it a day. Just an idea (not saying it's a good one, but it's a thought).

re: Rewards - those do sound a bit high, but again, no first hand experience. Considering the fact that to get that high (level 3) one normally has to visit entirely new planets, being able to get the same effect from a mentor sounds, at first blush, a bit OP.

My 0.02 cents.

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24 minutes ago, Deimos Rast said:

I'll stop giving you grief now:sticktongue:

All feedback is good feedback, I'll readily admit I'm not very happy with engineers. You are spot on though the class system sucks. What kind of levelling system gives you everything you really want by level 3? Why do we even have 5 levels?

24 minutes ago, Deimos Rast said:

re: Rewards - those do sound a bit high, but again, no first hand experience. Considering the fact that to get that high (level 3) one normally has to visit entirely new planets, being able to get the same effect from a mentor sounds, at first blush, a bit OP.

I don't think there is anything specifically wrong with mentors being able to pull them up, the whole point is that you can do these missions without having to go too far afield, as you are paying for it in Funds. (More so with the basic program, in the situation I described above, you pay circa 400k funds for the first boost, then another 100k for the second, if you went through the advanced it would only cost you 400k total).

Maybe Lv3 on the first pass is not a good idea though, I think I'll change it so the basic program has to be taken slowly (1 level at a time), but I'll have to introduce more levels to the pilots basic program, as just flying around over KSC again and again will get boring..

Edited by severedsolo

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Kerbal Academy 1.1 Released

  • Basic Programs less likely to bring trainees to within 1 level of mentor
  • Basic Programs may cost more depending on level difference between mentor and trainee.
  • Fixed a bug that would stop Level 3+ Advanced Piloting missions from completing.
  • Boot Camp will now advance new recruits to level 1

 

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On 29.05.2016 at 11:31 AM, severedsolo said:

Are you tired of your Kerbals not being able to reach the highest levels without planting a flag on Duna? Ever wondered how planting a flag on Minmus shows your engineers how to fix wheels? Enrol your Kerbonauts in the Kerbal Academy today!

Sounds very promising!

Have two questions though:

1.

23 hours ago, severedsolo said:

Basic Program - Pilots: Fly a randomly generated course (series of waypoints) over KSC and land safely.  Scientists: Gather a randomly generated low level science experiment from Kerbin (or, if the Kerbin science is exhausted, Mun or Minmus). Engineers: Perform a "simulation" (see above) of repairing something (level dependant, so if you would go to Lv2 it will be landing legs, Lv3, wheels etc).

 

Does that mean that if I have all of my KSC science exhausted then my poor applicant scientist will have to go to the Mun to gain the second star? So the test becomes gradually harder and more expensive for scientists of the same level, unlike basic pilots who just grind their way through waypoints (and it's the right way, IMHO, because everybody should have equal chances).

2. Is there a way to make scientist contracts send them to bring science outside the KSC? (I don't like doing science inside KSC as this feels a little cheaty: "Wanna be a scientist, huh? Get a goo right under your feet").

Edited by Ser

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1 minute ago, Ser said:

Does that mean that if I have all of my KSC science exhausted and have then my poor applicant scientist will have to go to the Mun to gain the second star? So the test becomes gradually harder and more expensive for scientists. Unlike the pilots who just grind their way through waypoints (and it's the right way, IMHO, because everybody should have equal chances).

If all the Kerbin (not KSC) science is exhausted, then yes your applicant will have to go to Mun or Minmus. However, I'm including atmospheric and space science in this too, it doesn't distinguish. You may get KSC science, but in my testing I found that these hardly ever came up.

Regarding the pilots, I agree it's unfair. Engineers are arguably even worse (they can just literally put a vessel on the pad and do the simulation there in the basic program).

As I was just discussing with @Deimos Rast - I am looking to expand the basic program to make higher levels go further afield in Pilot and Engineer classes (as the advanced program is). I want to let the new changes to rewards sit first though, before I push it any further. The other option is that I put a "fallback" check in (as I have done with the Boot Camp) so even if all the science is exhausted, it will just pick something at random.

I'm open to feedback on either option

9 minutes ago, Ser said:

2. Is there a way to make scientist contracts send them to bring science outside the KSC? (I don't like doing science inside KSC as this feels a little cheaty: "Wanna be a scientist, huh? Get a goo right under your feet").

Sure, I could exclude KSC science (I actually already do this to some extent, so you don't get "VAB northwest corner" or something like that) it would just mean removing one line to make all KSC science be excluded). Although Boot Camp focuses on KSC science (and the others are just as easy - fly to the island, or jump into the training ship on the crawlerway) - the Basic Program will push scientists towards Kerbin, rather than KSC (but KSC is an option).

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27 minutes ago, severedsolo said:

The other option is that I put a "fallback" check in (as I have done with the Boot Camp) so even if all the science is exhausted, it will just pick something at random.

 

That would be nice to have something like the stock "Transmit or recover" system that doesn't force a player to bring actual science value but just perform experiment and transmission. You cannot demand that a student made a breakthrough in science, but if he accidentally develops something useful - well, we can give some thanks to him.

In my personal playstyle (may be someone practice that too), with no KSC science, special strategies and other science trade mechanics, I have to crawl all the Kerbin and extract every little science in order to be able to progress further. To the moment I have almost the entire Kerbin covered and haven't been even close to the Mun yet, so if my scientist dies and the next one won't be able to develop on Kerbin because he has to go to the Mun for that, then it would be an unfair disaster.

Edited by Ser

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Nice to see this discussion! This will make the mod get even better.

I've installed it but haven't got any different contract so far (just one run with three available contracts and all kerbals with 1 star). Looking forward to them! :)

Another question: what about stock levelups? I mean, even with Kerbal Academy installed, if a Kerbal plants a flag on Duna, will he get to the next level?

 

 

Edited by jlcarneiro

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51 minutes ago, Ser said:

That would be nice to have something like the stock "Transmit or recover" system that doesn't force a player to bring actual science value but just perform experiment and transmission.

Actually I originally had it set to transmit, but set it back to recover simply because you have to recover the Kerbal to get the experience anyway. No issues with setting it to TransmitOrRecover though (actually that may be better for people using Field Experience)

55 minutes ago, Ser said:

You cannot demand that a student made a breakthrough in science, but if he accidentally develops something useful - well, we can give some thanks to him.

Sure I can. These aren't students in the sense of teenagers with no world experience. They have been recruited to their planets premier (and as far as we know, only) space program. It's more like on the job training.

So, in my line of work, when a new starter comes in, they start doing the work, but everything they do is checked and they have a mentor on hand to answer questions. The stuff still goes out the door, the work still gets done.

Same deal here, these are professional astronauts, they are just a little green (no pun intended). I would expect a scientist kerbal to at least know something about science... they have probably done the Kerbal equivalent of university before they get there, they SHOULD know what they are doing (basically). If they can't take the heat, there are plenty more waiting to take their place.

38 minutes ago, jlcarneiro said:

Another question: what about stock levelups? I mean, even with Kerbal Academy installed, if a Kerbal plants a flag on Duna, will he get to the next level?

I don't (and can't) touch the stock system. However, there is logic that SHOULD stop you getting the experience twice.

So, you land at Duna, and get Level 3, but you have a "get to Level 3" contract waiting to generate, and it will just silently be dropped. I COULD set it so that if you gain that level even when the contract is accepted, it will still be dropped (and you will get a refund), but not 100% sure that is a good idea.

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22 minutes ago, severedsolo said:

Same deal here, these are professional astronauts, they are just a little green (no pun intended). I would expect a scientist kerbal to at least know something about science... they have probably done the Kerbal equivalent of university before they get there, they SHOULD know what they are doing (basically). If they can't take the heat, there are plenty more waiting to take their place.

That has some sense. But I'm afraid a system that doesn't forgive the limited amount of science that can be done under certain conditions in the game may lead to scientists become too hard to train over time. Just my thoughts.

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32 minutes ago, Ser said:

That has some sense. But I'm afraid a system that doesn't forgive the limited amount of science that can be done under certain conditions in the game may lead to scientists become too hard to train over time. Just my thoughts.

In fact, re-reading the contract logic, my explanation in @jlcarneiro's post was incorrect. Scientific Principles (the basic scientist program) will look for experiments on Kerbin, and then any body you have orbited if that fails. As you haven't been to Mun yet, you would not see Mun science offered.

That makes your point about pilots and engineers having it easy even more pertinent of course. Ok, as it is right now, your situation is fine, I just need to add one more line which will fall back on any experiment if it can't find any with science left. That will solve your problem. It already ignores bodies you've never visited. I'll add that to the next release.

I've decided not to make any changes to the advanced program for Scientists because I feel that scientists should be constantly pushing the boundaries of knowledge, and visiting new bodies is a desirable outcome. (Whereas the Basic Program is just following in the footsteps of where more experienced kerbals have already been)

Going forward though, I need to either a) reign the boundaries of where the science can come from in, or b) expand the horizons of the other two classes missions. Which comes back to @Deimos Rast's point.

Edited by severedsolo

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6 minutes ago, severedsolo said:

In fact, re-reading the contract logic, my explanation in @jlcarneiro's post was incorrect. Scientific Principles (the basic scientist program) will look for experiments on Kerbin, and then any body you have orbited if that fails. As you haven't been to Mun yet, you would not see Mun science offered.

That makes your point about pilots and engineers having it easy even more pertinent of course. Ok, as it is right now, your situation is fine, I just need to add one more line which will fall back on any experiment if it can't find any with science left. That will solve your problem. It already ignores bodies you've never visited. I'll add that to the next release.

Going forward though, I need to either a) reign the boundaries of where the science can come from in, or b) expand the horizons of the other two classes missions. Which comes back to @Deimos Rast's point.

I'd made that configurable as it might be very much a matter of individual playstyle. Both approaches are good.

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